07
Jun

One thing I am always keeping an eye on in my job is the next up and coming superstars. Getting good quality images of athletes before they’re famous typically will lead to sales of the images for many years to come. About a year ago I read a story about a high school baseball player, Bryce Harper,  who appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. After reading the story I made a mental note to cover him before he went to the majors.

Following Harpers sophmore year in high school he dropped out (with his parents blessings) and got his GED. The move allowed him to join a Las Vegas junior college (and more importantly) be eligible for the 2010 MLB Draft where he was just picked as the first overall pick by the Washington Nationals.

So anyways, I was able to head to Grand Junction, CO the day after the Indianapolis 500 to shoot Harper playing for the Southern Nevada Coyotes in the Junior College World Series.

The best thing about the shoot would be the fact that the only person I needed to worry about was Harper. With most shoots I have to cover the entire game (and all the players) so getting a large variety of images of one person is next to impossible. For this shoot it was my goal to get as many angles and types of shots as possible like I did on a shoot of previous first overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg.

I would be in town for two games, a day game and a night game. On to some of the images!

Before the game I moved around to shoot various pre-game shots of him warming up…

Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For his at bat in the first inning I wasn’t in a great place to get him batting but ended up being good for a tight shot of him running to first base, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/2500th, Manual

When shooting baseball I would say the play we all want to shoot is a sliding play at the plate. I knocked that shot off my list in the first inning when Harper successfully stole home (below) where he knocked the ball out from the glove of Faulkner State Sun Chiefs catcher Stephen Clarke.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/2500th, Manual

Nikon D700, 400mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/2500th, Manual

Nikon D700, 400mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/2500th, Manual

After being called safe Harper jumped to his feet and yelled, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/2500th, Manual

One of the unique things about Bryce Harper is the excessive eye black he has smeared on his face like warpaint. I made it a point to try and get good photos showing the eye black. (My guess is once he gets in the big leagues he won’t be wearing the eyeblack like that. He would most likely get laughed out of the dugout)

Nikon D700, 400mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

While you might think a kid with so much hype and potential could end up being cocky and too good to interact with his teammates I was surprised to notice Harper got along with his teammates and spent a lot of time joking and having fun with them.

Below, Southern Nevada Coyotes catcher Bryce Harper (right) celebrates a score with teammates against the Faulkner State Sun Chiefs during the Junior College World Series as Suplizio Field.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

The photo access at the field was nothing short of amazing. Stadium staff told me I could shoot from anywhere along the dirt in foul territory and the only rule was for me not to get hurt out there.

Sounds like a rule I actually wanna follow!

Here are some more various images from the game….

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual

Following the game I slapped a wide angle lens on one of my bodies and walked out onto the field with Harper to shoot him celebrating the win with his teammates.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f4, 1/800th, Manual

Trying to walk out on the field during a MLB game would instantly get you banned……….unless you’re the team photog.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

Following the game Harper spent several minutes doing interviews with media. It was a good chance to get close up candid portraits of him, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/6400th, Aperture Priority

That wraps up game one for me. On to game two.

This game would begin about an hour before sunset so it would give me a chance to get some nice light as opposed to the previous game that I had to contend with pretty harsh light for most of the game.

Below, Bryce Harper (left) uses the reflection off the sunglasses of a teammate as he applies eye black prior to the game against Iowa Western C.C. during the Junior College World Series as Suplizio Field.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Prior to his first at bat of the game I shot the bottom two photos of him warming up in the on deck circle with a nice full crowd as my background, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 640iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 640iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

For this game Harper would be playing right field instead of catcher. I was very happy about that since it would enable me to get completely different images from yesterday with him behind the plate.

Just before sunset I got some nice light on Harper as he makes a throw back to the infield, below.I

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f2.8, 1/6400th, Manual

I was hoping for a really nice sunset to incorporate into some shots but nature didn’t cooperate. Instead of giving up on a dusk shot I worked with what I had and laid down on the ground (in foul territory) behind the on deck circle and shot up at Harper taking practice swings. I underexposed the shot by a few stops to produce the below silhouette.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 250iso, f3.5, 1/1000th, Manual

In the third inning of the game Harper would hit a three run home run. The below shot is the only usable shot of the swing……the actual hit was out of focus. Good job Mark!

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, Bryce Harper is congratulated by teammates after hitting a three run home run in the third inning against Iowa Western C.C. during the Junior College World Series.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

A few innings later he would get on second with a two run double. On a teammates hit I was able to shoot a nice tight vertical of Harper as he rounded third base on his way to score.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, Southern Nevada Coyotes right fielder Bryce Harper is congratulated by teammates after scoring.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 6400iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

A few innings later I was shooting from the first base side and got the below photo of Harper hitting his second three-run home run of the game.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 6400iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

As he rounded first base on the home run trot he lifted an arm in the air in celebration, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 6400iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Southern Nevada would win the game 12-7. Harper was responsible for 8 of those RBIs!

Below, Harper is surrounded by media as he is interviewed following the game.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/250th, Manual

Awhile after the game I had the opportunity to have a photo with Harper. Like I would turn that down!

Photo by John Antonoff

With that I wrap up a very productive two days in Colorado. I really enjoyed shooting Bryce Harper and am hopeful he goes on to be the stud all the scouts think he will be!

Be sure to click below to view all my images from the shoot.

Here are some web clips so far:


 
Posted in Baseball, Me, Sports   | 1 Comment

One Response to “Bryce Harper, 17 year old baseball prodigy”

  1. Cory Marr says:

    Pretty much won big on media coverage. Looks like everyone wanted a piece of him.

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